High blood pressure is an important cause of erectile dysfunction and impotence. It keeps the arteries that carry blood into the penis from dilating the way they're supposed to.
It also makes the smooth muscle in the penis lose its ability to relax. As a result, not enough blood flows into the penis to make it erect. Excess pressure in the blood vessels actually causes damage to small arteries in the penis.
Normally, these arteries dilate in response to sexual stimulation, allowing more blood to flow into the spongy tissue of the penis to produce an erection. It is thought that excessive pressure on these arteries may cause tiny tears, which the body then repairs. In response to these tears, the healed arteries become thicker, allowing them to better resist further damage. These thicker arteries, though, aren’t able to respond as fast, or as completely, to demands for extra blood, so they become a sort of dam in the flow of blood to the erectile tissues of the penis.
Someone who has had moderate hypertension for twenty years sometimes appears to be at lower risk for erectile dysfunction than a young man who has had very serious hypertension for only a few months.
Men with high blood pressure may also have a low testosterone level. Testosterone is the male hormone that plays a big role in sexual arousal.
High blood pressure by itself can lead to erectile dysfunction. But some drugs for treating high blood pressure can actually be the cause as well.
Diuretics may cause erectile dysfunction by decreasing the force of blood flow into the penis. They may also decrease the amount of zinc in the body. Your body needs zinc to make testosterone.
Beta-blockers dampen the response to nerve impulses that lead to an erection. They also make it more difficult for the arteries in the penis to widen and let in blood. What's more, they can make you feel sedated and depressed -- and the mind always plays some part in sexual arousal.
The power to take control of your blood pressure and sexual health is in your hands. By living a healthy lifestyle, there's a chance you'll once again be able to have normal sexual function.